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Allowing Non-Administrators To Install Fonts In Windows 7

Window 7 is far more secure than prior Windows operating systems. The Windows directory is secured down with permissions so even an Administrator cannot circumvent security. Some security features are good other not so much, the security on fonts is a good example. I will explain how to allow normal non-privileged users access to install their own fonts without the UAC prompt.

The Fonts directory is located in the Windows directory and if a normal user wants to install Fonts; they cannot. If a normal users tries to install a font they are prompted with the UAC (User Account Control) dialog box and Administrator credentials are required. If you work for a school or a print shop and do not want to give out Administrator credentials to install fonts read on.

The following steps will loosen up security in your operating system, so that normal users can install fonts without administrative credentials and the UAC prompt. This modification has been tested on Windows 7; however it should also work on Windows Vista as well. Please be careful when making changes that could open security holes. As of the writing of this article there are no security holes, but be vigilant and read Microsoft Security Bulletins in the future.

Log on as an administrator to make the following changes!

First we need to make the folder writable and make it a non-system folder.

attrib -r -s c:\Windows\Fonts

Next we need to take ownership. The /f directs it to the folder of c:\Windows\Fonts the /r directs it to recurse and the /d n is default answer is no or skip.

takeown /f c:\Windows\Fonts /r /d n

Now let’s give the users permission.

cacls c:\Windows\Fonts /e /t /g users:c

There is also a font cache that allows programs to display a preview of the fonts; this needs softened up as well for the user.

cacls c:\Windows\System32\FNTCACHE.DAT /e /t /g users:c

Note: you will receive an Access is denied message, this is normal; just make sure users have change security permissions.

The last thing to do is give users permissions to register fonts with Windows 7 in the registry. Use regedit and give users modify permissions to the following key in the registry.

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Fonts

See diagram:

HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftWindows NTCurrent VersionFonts

That’s it you done… Log out and test as a normal / non-administrator by right clicking the font and selecting “Install” from the context menu.